This one daily planner trick made the biggest difference in my year, helping me to be a happier, more creative and fulfilled mom. And it’s really simple!
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This is outside the scope of what I usually write about, I know. But as the year comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the things that have made the biggest difference in my personal development, helping me to be a happier, stronger, more fulfilled person. And there’s one change I made this year that stands out as a real game-changer. It just doesn’t feel right not to share it here!
The difference? Putting one “unnecessary”, soul-feeding, creative thing on my high-priority “must-do” list each day. That’s it.
That honestly is all there is to it, but if you’d like to hear how I incorporated this and what it’s done for me this year, do keep on reading!
For most of my adult “mom” life, I’ve kept a bullet-style daily planner that’s helped me manage raising two little kids on a homestead while working at night from home. I’d be lost without it.
My method has been pretty simple – things I want to accomplish in a day get put into three lists on my daily page: “MUST-do”, “kids” and “wish list”.
It’s been a simple, but effective way of keeping me on track with getting done most of what I need to. 5-7 things usually go on the “must-do” list of most urgent tasks. Things I want to do with the kids (educational activities, projects, trips to the playground) get put on the “kids” list. The third “wish list” is where I put everything else I’d like to do if I somehow magically have time for it.
Of those three lists (urgent must-do, activities with kids, and joyful stuff) I’m sure you can guess which two lists usually got at least mostly checked off each day – and which one usually didn’t get anything checked off.
I know I’m not alone here. Mom life is so busy, even when we try to simplify. It’s just a busy season. I’m sure I’m not the only mother who often lifts her head and whispers to the universe “There’s just not enough of me to go around.”
But early last year I started making a change with my daily planning. I took one item from my list of things I wanted to do, and I put it on my urgent “must do” list. I made sure to choose carefully – something that would feed my soul and my creative self, like spinning wool, sketching, or painting.
I also learned to always choose something that I could do for just 15 minutes, and then stop. If the thing I chose required more than 15 minutes of my day, it felt too selfish or unattainable, and I wouldn’t actually do it.
It honestly took me a while to take myself seriously. But I kept going – putting one “soul-feeding” item on the “must-do” list, every morning. And eventually I really did embrace the “selfish” task as being necessary – just like cleaning the bathroom or doing laundry. As I saw the difference it made in my emotions and sense of well-being, prioritizing that daily bit of creative time came to feel like an investment in the well-being of the whole household.
Y’all, as I’ve continued to be faithful with this, it’s ended up making such a difference in my whole year. I feel more creative, happy, and complete than I did a year ago. And I’ve accomplished things I know I wouldn’t have, without carving out those sacred little windows of creative time. I’ve finally illustrated and written a children’s book (something I’ve wanted to do for years!), I’ve learned to spin and ply yarn from my sheep and knit a fair isle hat with it. I’ve experimented with countless natural dye projects. I started making pottery again.
There have certainly been days where, in spite of my best intentions, creative time DID lose out to more critical tasks. Life is like that, and those days happen. But one unexpected benefit of this little experiment has been that I feel more poised and able to handle the crazy days when they hit, without losing my sense of equilibrium.
If you’re struggling with making a little time for self-care this year, whatever form that may take for you, the most effective solution I’ve found is choosing a small, achievable item each day, and giving it a place of importance on the “MUST-do” list. I hope it helps you as much as it has me.
Wishing you wonderful things in this year to come!
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